SheWhoMustBeFed made a batch of polenta a day or so back. She might have been a little ambitious with the amount she made – we seem to have more dishes of polenta in the fridge than we know what to do with. One with onion and garlic mixed through it, another with a dash of ras-ek-hanout, another plain with corn nibblets mixed in.
This casserole is made from whatever vegetables are to hand, some haricot beans, and a few big lumps of polenta which act as dumplings, soaking up a big slurp of flavour from the sauce.
- SheWhoMustBeFed to come and make you some polenta. If she isn’t available, then go ahead and do this step yourself. Each “chunk” of polenta ought to be a fair size – say about that of an egg
- a random delection of vegetables (sweet potato, carrots, brassica…)
- a cup of cooked haricot beans
- 1/2 a medium onion – chopped
- 1 clove of garlic – chopped
- 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (or more…or less)
- big handful each of fresh parsley, dill, rosemary, thyme – chopped
- 1 tablespoon of light miso paste
- 2 cups of white wine
- 2 cups of water
To be, to be, do be doing…
- lightly saute the onion, garlic, and chilli in a generous splash of olive oil
- add everything else except the fresh herbs and the polenta
- bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer and allow to bubble gently away until the vegetables are nearly cooked
- add the herbs and give it a few minutes more
- add the polenta. If you just dump the polenta in and stir it through it will likely break up and dissolve so a little care is required. Place the polenta on the top of the stew, and then get each to sink into the sauce by pushing aside the vegetables under each piece with a spoon. Leave covered, off the heat, for 5 minutes for the polenta to soak up some juice
- serve, eat, get out of washing up if you can
It must be sad being the vegetable that everyone loves to detest. Lets face it, children hate brussel sprouts even more than they hate broccoli, even more than they hate cleaning their rooms, or kissing the cheek of their creepy Aunt Edith who smells unsettlingly of urine.
Just maybe though, as you get older you get a taste for this little member of the brassica family. December in England is the time of year when fresh, seasonal and locally grown sprouts can be found in the farmer’s markets. Sprouts are best bought still on the stem – and lets face it they are one of the wackiest looking plants on the planet. For that reason alone it deserves a little respect. The sprouts grow directly off the woody stem, and the whole thing is then crowned by a large, loosely bundled mega-sprout on the top.
And here’s THE THING. That mega-sprout on top is the best bit. Not only does it’s presence herald a truly fresh sprout stem, but it is also lip smackingly good to eat. Underneath it will be surrounded by little cute sprouts; cut it off the stem at this point and steam the whole head. Wash any dirt from amongst the leaves first.
OK – you have to like brussel sprouts to begin with enjoy this. But life isn’t just oranges and bananas. Live a little…
I just don’t get why anyone would want to eat canned tomato soup. This takes 15 minutes at the most, which I reckon must be only a little longer than it would take to open a can and heat it.
SheWhoMustBeFed often tries to avoid too much wheat and this filling lunch can be eaten with or without bread. This recipe feeds one; or two if accompanied by toast/fresh bread.
Ingredients & Preparation
- 3 thin slices of onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme
- 3 medium/small tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Tbspn miso
- 1 Tbspn tomato paste
- Tspn ground pepper
- ½ cup of water or light stock
- Olive oil
- When serving: (thick) balsamic vinegar
- Lightly sauté onions, garlic and pepper.
- Meanwhile lightly blend rest of ingredients
- Add to pot, stir thoroughly and simmer on low for 10 minutes
- Serve in wide, shallow bowl.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar in a thin spiral swirl from the centre to the outside
- Serve with hot crusty fresh bread.
Cold, grey, dreary English days call for a hearty winter soup to take the chill out of the bones. SheWhoMustBeFed had been out doing errands and came home looking all blue and frigid around the edges, so I made this soup to thaw her out. The roasted vegetables add depth of flavour and texture. This recipe will feed two very hungry people, and it takes about half an hour from clicking on the oven to sitting down to eat.
- 4 medium spuds – a type that roasts up nicely
- a few cloves of garlic
- 1 medium onion
- fresh bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, parsley, dill
- black peppercorns (to taste: I would add about 3/4 teaspoon)
- white miso
- olive oil
What to do (important to do in this order if you do need to make this in less than 31 minutes)
- crank up the oven (to whatever tempurature suits your oven for roasting vegetables)
- top and tail the onion, remove the outer flaky skin. Place in a small roasting dish with olive oil and place in the hottest part of the oven
- reserve one and half potatoes
- do not peel the remaining potatoes. Dig out any nasty bits. Cube. Place in a roasting dish with olive oil and place in the hottest part of the oven
- de-skin the garlic, place in a small covered baking container with olive oil and get that in the oven too.
- Dry roast the peppercorns
- ** Note: I leave it to you to remove the onion, garlic and spuds from the oven at the right time. In my oven, the onion would take the longest, followed by the spuds. The garlic would be ready in about 15-20 minutes while the peppercorns would be (dry) roasted in 5 or 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile….peel the reserved spuds. Cut in to smallish pieces and boil together with the bay leaf and the miso paste. Once the spuds are soft, gently mash them. This forms the basis of the “soup”
- Once the peppercorns are roasted; crush them in a mortar and pestle
- Once the garlic is roasted, puree it together with some of the soup and add to saucepan. At this time also add the chopped rosemary and thyme, and fish out the bay leaves.
- Once the spuds and onion are roasted… the outer skin of the rost onion will be chewy and needs to be removed. Stand the onion on one end and slice in half with a very sharp knife (a blunt knife will make a right mess of this as the onion should be very soft). Lay down the halves on their cut side. Using whatever implement is to hand, “pinch” off the outer layer and discard. Cut the roast onion into largish pieces.
- Add roast potato, onion, pepper, chopped dill and parsley to the soup.
- Eat – note that the longer you delay the eating now the less the roast spuds will have a nice crispiness to them
Nice with chunky bread…